Every year Liebichwein put the call out for the best home barrel blend. All amateur wine blenders around Australia are invited to submit their personal fortified wines for the chance to be crowned ‘best fortified blend’ in a competition organised by Barossa winery Liebichwein. The winner receives an engraved wooden dipstick trophy they can use to measure how much is in their barrel.
Fortified wines have a long history in the Barossa Valley and winemaker Ron Liebich certainly knows a thing or two about them. Ron has completed over 50 vintages growing and producing a range of wines with a special focus on fortifieds which have a widespread fan base across Australia.
Liebichwein cellar door offers varied fortified styles and blends made from red and white varietals including Muscat, Semillon, Frontignac and Grenache. Many customers come in to get regular refills of bulk fortifieds for aging and blending in their home barrel.
Having a home barrel to age your own fortified blend is one of life’s little luxuries. By running this competition, Liebichwein aim to reward the patience in taking on this challenge. Budding winemakers blenders are encouraged to enter one or more samples of their own blend for professional evaluation by Ron and an experienced judging panel.
During judging, an experienced panel taste all wine samples in a blind tasting. Tasting notes are written and quality scores given for overall flavour and balance. Judges look for wines that are in balance and provide a good drink no matter how old the wine is or what stage of development it is. All entrants receive feedback from the panel and blending advice from Ron which we know is greatly appreciated.
The competition was held in August-September. Entrants submitted a 200mL wine sample. A wide range of barrel-aged fortified wines was on show of all varieties and ages. There were five gold medals awarded to three different people who all received a prize of rare fortified samples over 20 years old. The winners were announced at an event for entrants at Liebichwein in mid September.
The Liebichwein barrel shed has collected many oak casks of various sizes which house liquid gold. Ron and Janet Liebich are proud to continue the great tradition of ageing and blending fortified wines. Only a few decades ago, Muscat and Tawny used to dominate the Barossa wine scene.
Hosting a Home Barrel Competition to celebrate these classic styles and recognises our passionate customer base continues to be a fantastic and engaging experience. The 2019 competition entries included super-syrupy rare tawny, rare sweet Tokay-like flavours and quite young Tawny blends. All the wines (24 in total) gained approval and judges were really impressed with overall quality.
There were so many high quality wines, that 5 Gold Medals were awarded to 4 different homebarrel owners who each won a prize of a Rare Museum Fortified and a bottle of The Darkie Shiraz. Congratulations to the 2019 Home Barrel Competition winner Filippo Pizzino from South Australia who entered two outstanding fortifieds that claimed first and second prize.
A local highly experienced judging panel was put together and entrants came from all over Australia. All entrants were happy and proud to receive tasting notes and feedback from Ron about their personalised blends and improving them for the next judging competition. Stay tuned to hear about dates for the 2020 competition.
Announcing the winners of the prestigious “Best Home Barrel Blend” for the 2018 competition. Judging took place in September with three expert judges deliberating samples of Tawny and white fortified wines sent in from our customer base.
Wines were very high standard with very little to pick on in terms of faults. All entries were worthy of medals. The winning wines showed complex flavours, great depth and balance. Entrants gained Ron?s specialist advice on how to improve their blend, which we believe is the most important outcome of this event.
Thanks to everyone who entered and helps support our business. We are only too happy to help you with our complete range of fortifieds to achieve the best results for your barrels.
Congratulations to all winners!
First Place: John Ridenour
Second Place: Martin Kennedy
Third Place: Filippo Pizzino
Ron Liebich’s winemaking comments:
Smaller barrels need to be “worked” to achieve best results. It is ok to have great rancio characters, the high ratio of wood in small barrels to wine means adding younger wine at times, preferably with minimum wood age (such as Ruby Fortified) as a portion of the addition. Youthful fortifieds are perfect for blending out excess wood tannin and maintaining fruit wood balance. The gold winners had the best balance of fruit and oak integration, indicating good management and? patience.
We’re absolutely thrilled with results from the Barossa Wine Show 2018. Ron has outdone himself picking up a Trophy for Museum Fortified for the second year in a row. Rare Tawny was crowned Best Museum Red Fortified. Last year saw Rare Semillon get a similar honour in the Best Museum White Fortified Class.
All entries from around the Barossa region were such high calibre, we’re proud to be among the same company. Congratulations to all other medal and trophy winners.
Other Liebichwein medal winners:
Rare Frontignac = SILVER (yet to be released)
2018 Vintage Fortified Petit Verdot (baby VP – yet to be released) = BRONZE
Grape stomping, street parade, scarecrows, chocolate and wine?indulgence were just some of the variety of activities Liebichwein were involved with over?the five days of the Barossa Vintage Festival?held in April 2015.
Cellar Door was run off its feet with people booking in for the Fortified and Chocolate Experience. Visitors enjoyed a journey of flavour?through four varieties of premium fortified wines ranging from two to twenty years old. Wines were matched to four homemade chocolate truffles. A rare treat!
Once again we?entered a float in the?famous Barossa Festival Parade, the?longest street parade in the southern hemisphere.?Our daughter Briony and son-in-law Damian proudly dressed?the winery float?in a ‘Classic Old Barossa’ theme complete with scarecrow (Grandpa “Gus” Braunack) and classic 1960’s beach buggy. See more photos
Grape juice was flying as the iconic grape treading event returned for its biennial appearance at the?Festival. Young and old climbed into the bins and eagerly stomped the grapes.?Liebichwein have proudly sponsored this event for 10 years.?Ron is now converting the well-stomped Grenache juice into a smooth young Tawny. See results here